It’s part of our human nature to play favorites. We often move towards, look up to, and speak highly of those who have wealth or achievements while also looking down to, ignoring, or withholding mercy from those who lack these things. Christians aren’t immune from this sin of favoritism, and it goes back to the very beginnings of the church. James likely witnessed his half-brother Jesus correcting this sin by extending mercy to the poor, the ignored, the marginalized, and the outcasts.
According to Jesus, the Kingdom belongs to the least of us. As a leader of the early church, James applies the way of the Kingdom to how we treat others. By accepting the free mercy of God as a gift rather than as something we have to achieve, we can then extend that same mercy to everyone regardless of their wealth or status. But to try and earn mercy or to withhold it from others is to neglect the heart of the gospel itself.
James 2:1-13 CSB